Cohesion, familiarity - or the lack of it - are key Gilas concerns as Seaba countdown begins
Naturalized player Andray Blatche works double time to get to know the new players and familiarize himself again to Gilas' plays. Jerome Ascano

FAMILIARITY and cohesion, or the lack of it, are the main concern of coach Chot Reyes heading into Gilas Pilipinas' campaign in the Southeast Asian Basketball Association (Seaba) Championship.

It’s obvious, according to Reyes, the national team has yet to play like one solid unit especially with naturalized player Andray Blatche having practiced with Gilas for just the third time on Monday evening.

“Three days or four days are not going to be enough time,” said Reyes after the team wrapped up its second practice for the day at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“If they are really looking for the kind of deep chemistry or bonding that we have, that can’t be built in three practices. That’s going to be a work in progress, that’s gonna take time. Hopefully, we have enough time to get things going for the Seaba.”

[See Wright, Pogoy, Almazan catch Blatche eye]

The national team plays lowly Myanmar during the opener of the Fiba Asia Cup qualifier on Friday also at the Big Dome. Gilas takes a day off on Tuesday, and then will have consecutive practices in the next two days prior to the opening of the tournament.

The rest day would be good enough for Blatche to shrug off the effects of jet lag following a 20-hour flight from Atlanta. He arrived early Sunday morning.

“Tuesday’s going to be his worst day, that’s why we decided to make that our off day,” admitted Reyes.

Blatche said he’s trying to get some sleep now to get himself ready for the May 12-18 meet.

Asked where his conditioning is, the 6-foot-11 NBA veteran curtly replied, “we’ll see how further.”

[See Australia far from Reyes mind as Gilas focused on hurdling Seaba test]

In the two days he trained with Gilas, Reyes said Blatche still clearly doesn’t have power in his legs.


“He doesn’t have his legs underneath him. He’ll still need a couple of days for his conditioning to kick in,” said the national mentor.

Again, it all boils down to how quickly Blatche can get to know his teammates rather than worrying about his playing condition.

“The more important concern for me now is to really get to know his teammates and for them to know him,” Reyes said.

Blatche agreed.

“Right now, it’s me learning the new players. There are lots of new faces that I have to familiarize. I’ve just got to learn the new guys,” he stressed.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos